Stone Brewing ‘Encore Series’ Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout


13151801_514729062044577_3130815179765521688_n“Who knew a worldwide hop shortage in 2008 would give rise to such a memorable, delicious beer? When it came time to craft a commemorative offering for our 12th anniversary, we decided to trade in the bitterness of hops for the bitterness of unsweetened chocolate, and paired that with flaked oats. Featuring a thick, rich, roasty mouthfeel and chocolate-heavy flavors and aromas, this onyx-colored, malt-forward beauty became an instant classic that shares space on our liquid trophy case alongside our hop-focused fan favorites.”

Served in a beer tulip. The impenetrable black pour arouses a fluffy two finger head that steadily deconstructs but maintains a thick overlay and produces tonnes of webbed lacing as we imbibe. The aroma isn’t exactly gushing out but an array of subtle, chocolatey undertones are all laying beneath the surface. Hints of sweet, dark chocolate, charred malts, leather, prunes, roasted oats and flashes of coffee are all here for the ones who dare to get their noses deep in to the glass. She’s definitely one that opens up as it warms. In the mouth there’s a nice full bodied feel as a dry and bitter texture forms on the back end. Co2 is kept low and the IBU sits at a reasonable 55. This stout absolutely explodes on the palate. Big on hop bitterness with a bit of extra kick from the bitter chocolate and emphasized by espresso accents that ignite the front palate and continue across the mid. A somewhat smoky character flows through the bitter and slightly burnt chocolate notes to finish super dry and roasty with an aggressive and lingering bitterness on the rear. Jeez. If there was ever a brewery to take the crown of world’s best brewer these guys would have to be a serious contender. This stout is rich, roasted, complex and decadent but the assertive bitterness fools the palate in to thinking it’s lighter and and more approachable. Brilliant. Once again these guys have crafted a new concept in brewing. Top notch stuff.